Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

NewTek announces new LightWave pricing


An early test render generated with the new volumetric and PBR render engine due in the next release of LightWave. NewTek has also announced new long-term pricing for the 3D modelling and animation software.

NewTek has announced new pricing for LightWave, plus a few details of the new features in the next release of the software, and of its long-term development plans.

Most of the information below comes from a long, and initially quite confusing, thread on the NewTek forum, but we think we’ve picked out all of the important details.

Cost of new licences up, cost of upgrades down – kind of
First up, the new pricing. As of the next release, a new licence of LightWave will cost $1,195: up $200 from the current price – although still lower than the price prior to LightWave 2015.

The cost of an upgrade becomes $295 if you’re using the current version of the software; $795 if you aren’t. At present, an upgrade from any previous version costs $495, so the new pricing rewards users who stay current.

Charter and post-charter memberships remain in force
Charter and post-charter members – those who signed up for NewTek’s now-discontinued CORE development initiative – retain their existing guaranteed pricing for future releases.

That guaranteed pricing is actually higher than the $295 it will now cost to upgrade from the current version, but NewTek says that (post)-charter members will “continue to receive exclusive special offers in the future”.

In addition, NewTek is offering a time-limited discount to anyone upgrading to LightWave 2015 before the new pricing comes into effect – $295 for (post)-charter members, $395 for everyone else.

However, you’ll have to be quick: that particular offer only runs until today, 30 September 2015.
Update: the closing date has now been extended to 15 October 2015.

New volumetric and PBR render engine
The same forum thread also offers a few clues as to the new features in the next release of the software, with Rob Powers, president of NewTek’s LightWave 3D Group, hinting that it will be a major update.

“Trust me, that is a release that you don’t want to miss out on,” he wrote. “When I say it will begin a new era for LightWave innovation, I am serious about that.”

At the minute, the only confirmed new feature is a new volumetric and PBR rendering engine, test renders from which can be seen in a separate thread on NewTek’s forum.

According to Powers, “This is not some form of reworking of the old render engine but an entirely new physically based … engine. Complete new GI, materials, and lights are part of this new system as well.”

So far, NewTek hasn’t released any hard information about performance, but says that it is “very, very pleased with the render speed tests which we have been conducting with other comparable render engines”.


Another early test image from LightWave’s new render engine, showing the new skin shader.

Integration of Modeler and Layout moving forward
In addition, Powers noted that integration of Modeler and Layout, the two separate applications into which LightWave is currently divided, is “most definitely” moving forward.

“From the architectural standpoint, we have already made such amazing progress that … I can personally hardly wait [to share it],” he wrote.

“Our goal has been to ensure … that LightWave will have the most modern architecture of any major 3D application driving it under the hood.”

Powers commented that the work “will be an ongoing process” but that NewTek’s current development focus is to “blow the doors off past limitations that frustrated users”.

“What we are doing is really nothing like CORE [which propopsed a new application with its own UI],” he added. “Our goal for integration is to do it … with an awareness of the strengths of the current workflow.

Powers says that more new features will be announced in the run up to the release, with more information due later this week.

New pricing here to stay, but not necessarily the annual releases
If NewTek follows its current numbering scheme, that new release will presumably be called LightWave 2016 – although interestingly, the version numbering doesn’t necessarily mean that releases will be annual.

“I have said nothing about yearly releases,” commented Powers. “We determine our releases based on our goals as they relate to our phased product development plan.”

“Because we are an independent company we have the option to do [any] release schedule we feel is best for the product.”

However, the new pricing model does seem to be a definite commitment, according to a forum post from LightWave 3D Group customer service lead Deuce Bennett.

“Granted, prices may change – take for example the new structure that has been brought forth now – but for all intent and purpose it is ‘always’ – there is no end date. Stay current, [and] upgrades are $295.”

Read the thread about the new pricing model on NewTek’s forum

Read the thread about the new volumetric and PBR render engine